The U.S. dollar was down slightly against most other currencies yesterday in foreign exchange trading in Europe and New York, as last week's wildly fluctuating rates gave way to cautious trading.

The price of gold jumped in London and Zurich, Europe's two major bullion markets. In London, a troy ounce of gold sold for $176.65, up from Friday's $173. It was the highest London price since April 3, 1975, when it reached $176.375 an ounce. In Zurich, gold also shot up, from Friday's $172.625 to late sales at $175.175 an ounce.

Almost everywhere, jittery markets resulted in a slight slide for the dollar. But in Paris, the dollar held its own at 4.71 French francs, unchanged from Friday's late trading.

And in London, the American currency edged up against the British pound in late trading to reach $1.9290. Last Friday, the late quote placed the dollar at $1.9395 against the pound sterling.

The Italian lira came under early pressure on European money markets following the resignation of Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti and his government and the dollar was stable in early trading. However, afternoon transactions weakened the U.S. currency and, in late trading, the dollar stood at 874.60 lira compared with Friday's late rate of 875.55 lira.